Well, after a less-than auspicious return last summer of what had once been one of Toronto’s Big 3 summertime weekends – the Gay Pride Celebration and Caribana Festival being the other two – it seems that the organizers and sponsors of the Honda Indy Toronto have decided to get serious.
According to the website hondaindytoronto.com, tickets will go on sale this week (just in time for Christmas) for the three-day event next July 16-18 that will feature the stars and cars of the IZOD Indy Car Series – Dario Franchitti, Tony Kanaan, Danica Patrick, Helio Castroneves, Will Power and – fingers crossed – Paul Tracy, among others.
In addition, support races will be presented by the Firestone Indy Lights, the NASCAR Canadian Tire stock cars (hooray!), the SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series, the Speed World Challenge Touring Car Series plus the GT cars and last, but certainly not least, the Castrol Canadian Touring Car Series presented by Toyo Tires (another big hooray!).
That, ladies and gents, is a pretty solid lineup. In the words of event vice-president and general manager Charlie Johnstone, "We’re poised to have the best on-track racing in the history of the event."
I don’t know about that, Charlie, but I suggest it’s a huge improvement over the on-track product last July.
Now, I don’t want to get into whether the prices of the tickets are fair or not. If I want to watch the Blue Jays or the Raptors or the Leafs from a good seat, it’s going to cost me big-league prices. And an Indy car race in Toronto or a Grand Prix of Canada race in Montreal is certainly not cheap.
However, I took my latest son to a movie yesterday and by the time I paid for parking in the Yonge-Eglinton area, admission to the theatre and popcorn and drinks for the two of us, it cost me just south of half a hundred.
In that context, I don’t think ticket prices for the Honda Indy are out of line at all.
I think, also, that the organizers have made an effort to answer some of the complaints they received after last year’s race and, for instance, if you purchase your tickets in advance – and this includes General Admission – the taxes and handling charges are included.
But the key is "in advance." If you wait to buy a ticket till the day – or days – you go, then a service or handling charge will be tacked on.
I’ll be sitting down with Johnstone in January for a chat about what the event has done to answer some of the other complaints that followed last year’s race.
But I have to say that it looks like they’re off to a good start for 2010.